Travel cuts to hurt families

BRIAN O'Toole feels like the New South Wales Government is trying to squeeze every last penny out of him.

The Bilambil Heights father of two is upset by the prospect of having to pay an additional $450 per child to make up for bus transport cuts and the Back to School Allowance, which the government currently pays for.

"I am on a pension, we barely get along as it is. It will be a struggle," Mr O'Toole said. "It would be a big blow to us if they are not going to pay for it."

The Government is expected to axe the School Student Transport Scheme and Back to School Allowance in its mini-budget on November 11 in a bid to shave $470 million from its budget.

Families would have to pay close to $400 a year to transport a child to and from school by bus, as well as cope with the once-a-year $50 allowance.

Tyrone O'Toole, 7, catches the bus to Bilambil Public School just under 4km away every day after being dropped off by his father at the bus stop.

"There are about 350 kids going to that school. A lot of the families involved with it are low-income earners and they will struggle to afford this," Mr O'Toole said.

"I do not want to imagine all those kids being dropped off at school. It would be chaotic."

Mr O'Toole said proposed cuts to the Back to School Allowance would cause bigger problems with the family budget.

"It is great for picking up those little things they need for school," he said.

Mr O'Toole said while the Government was making unnecessary cuts across the board, education was a big causality.

"We should be putting our money into the kids, not taking it away from them," he said.

"They should come first."

Lismore MP Thomas George, whose electorate also includes Murwillumbah, said families must not be hit by the state Labor Government's planned cuts to the School Transport Scheme and Back to School Allowance.

"Nathan Rees must ensure his planned budget cuts to student travel and the Back to School Allowance do not impact negatively on parents and students in the Tweed region," Mr George said, whose electorate includes Murwillumbah.



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